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STORY   OF   THE   SINO-JAPANESE   WAR       353
Hfe then, but who were responsible for championing his release. I also felt that the time was coming when further capitulation on his part to Japan would cause endless revolts (as happened in the Kwangsi Revolt of 1936) and make it extremely difficult for him to hold China together, in spite of his military superiority, but that on the other hand, the general feeling against the Japanese threat was so strong that only by assuming the leadership in national defence could he transform his military unification of China into a real moral unification. I felt that if he would openly assume this leadership, he would become a national leader crowned by the loyalty of the peoples' hearts and would emerge as one of China's greatest national heroes in history, a condition which has been realized; but if he should at any time falter and give up national resistance, which is an impossible contingency in view of his known stubbornness and insight, the whole nation would flock to the generals who continued to resist, a fact which is still true to-day. So are we all heroes and common men, puppets of circumstances and masters of circumstances at the same time, as the Chinese saying goes.
Meanwhile, to Chinese who still doubted Chiang's patriotic leadership, the China of the years before the war presented a gruesome picture of despair. Shall I tell the story of shameful, vicious Japanese aggression and equally shameful Chinese capitulation and suppression of all anti-Japanese sentiment? Shall I tell the full story of Japanese meanness and insufferable arrogance and Chinese insufferable submission and of conditions under which no self-respecting men and women could exist? Chinese husbands had to look on while Japanese ronins teased women at a Peking bazaar and then guffawed, at a time when Peking was under Chinese control and Japan and China were not at war. Was it not right that the two nations should fight and decide once for all whether China should remain as an equal nation or should become a vassal state of Japan? How was the Chinese Government to suppress the anti-Japanese feeling even with the most rigid censorship and forbidding of demonstrations? In spite of all precautions, student demonstrations flared up, and the Peking police chopped down the students with big knives, the same knives